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Tanah Rata

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Travel Guide Asia Malaysia Pahang Cameron Highlands Tanah Rata

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Introduction

Justkui Tanah Rata

Justkui Tanah Rata

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Tanah Rata is actually the centre of Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. This is only one town out of the many towns in Cameron Highlands. From the foothill, we will reach Ringlet before we reach Tanah Rata. After Tanah Rata, we can go to Brinchang and the highest town would be Kea Farm. Tanah Rata is the place where there are a community hospital, post office, government offices and shops. The sights and attractions are located around these towns.

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Sights and Activities

  • Boh Tea Plantation - This is a family-owned plantation which produces excellent tea leaves for generations. We get to see the process of planting to the process of harvesting and the finished product. We can enjoy the drink at the cafe, which opens up to a terrific, panaromic view of tea trees. The cool breeze will transport you to an European country. There are scones and sandwiches to accompany your drink.
  • Cactus Valley - We can head over to the Cactus Valley to look and enjoy a variety of cactus. Please do not mistake it for a real valley. It is just a name given to the shop. Three small pots of cactus cost RM10 while a moderate-sized cactus will cost between RM 5- RM 10. There are other plants and souvenirs available for sale.
  • Strawberry Farm - The excellent cool weather throughout the whole year enables the people around here to cultivate strawberries. Some of the farmers have even made strawberry jams and strawberry ice-creams. Near Hotel Excelsior in Cameron Highlands, we can get to eat strawberry drinks and strawberry dipped into chocolate. For those who wish to buy strawberries home, go to Raju's Farm as the owner will pack the strawberries in an ice-filled icebox for you.
  • Honey Farm - There are numerous honey farms around these towns. Some are sold along the roadside stalls. We can try "Madu Tualang", wild honey harvested from the jungle. It comes in two colours. The darker honey is added with sugar while the other lighter one is not added with sugar. Both are equally good to "cool' down the body, as the Chinese would say. If the guide brings you to the shops selling honey, you can see a variety of honey products. The price is a bit steeper than the roadside stalls.
  • Vegetables - Cameron Highlands supplies vegetables to the whole country and even to Singapore. For foreigners, it is not practical to buy vegetables to bring home. For the locals, we can buy a variety of fresh produce like tomatoes and cabbages. Take note: there is a special product that is not found elsewhere in Malaysia. It is the red sweet potatoes. Some of the farmers steam the red potatoes and tourists can buy 3 for RM5. It can be considered a must-try for tourists.
  • Roses/flowers - Cameron Highlands is also a producer of roses. Many farmers supply the roses and other flowers like carnation to the lowlands. Many tourists who come by the busloads will buy several dozens of roses to bring home. For a rough idea of how much the roses cost, there are 12 stalks of roses in a bouquet. 3 bouquets of roses cost RM10. It is definitely cheaper than the lowlands where florists sell a stalk for RM5.

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Events and Festivals

Tourists should visit the night market in Cameron Highlands. The night market is usually opened during the weekends while during school holidays, it is opened every night. There is no signboard to tell tourists that it is the night market. But you see it when the stalls along the main road selling all kinds of food, toys and even vegetables. Things are cheap. For example, a packet of fried noodles cost about RM3. while fried chicken will cost between RM2 - RM4.

Generally the festivals in Cameron Highlands follow the national festivals.

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Getting There

By Plane

One can enter Malaysia via Penang International Airport or Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). There are a lot of airlines plying these two airports. For those who prefer cheap airfares, do try Air Asia (Malaysia's low-cost airline), Tiger Airways or Jetstar Airlines. For those who prefer comfort and luxury, you can try Malaysia Airlines, also known as MAS.

By Car

There are two ways of getting up to Cameron Highlands. The old way is from Tapah, which is very winding and narrow. Accidents have happened many times and that is why a new road is built from Simpang Pulai, Ipoh. The road from Simpang Pulai is not so steep nor winding and many drivers have taken that road to be a F1 race course, speeding up as if their lives are not precious. So many people still prefer to go up the old way even though it's a bit steep. If we are prone to nausea and vomitting, just bring along some plastic bags and "minyak angin cap kapak", a local medicated oil that helps in expelling nausea and even wind-in-the-stomach.

By Bus

There are two ways of getting to Cameron Highlands. One is from Penang and the other is from Kuala Lumpur. If you are going to Cameron Highlands from Penang, go to Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal and search for "Kurnia Bestari", the bus company that provides bus transportation to Cameron Highlands. The price for a seat is between RM25 - RM35.

If you go via Kuala Lumpur, head over to Puduraya, the national bus terminal. Go up to the top floor and you will see rows of counters selling express bus tickets. Look for KKLIM counter. Then walk right to the end where you will see Kurnia Bestari counter. The price for the bus ticket should be between RM20 - RM30.

The price of the bus ticket may change from time to time, depending on the fuel price and other fees imposed by the government.

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Getting Around

By Car

One must be an expert in manouvering around the narrow and winding road. Parking would be a problem as it is limited.

By Public Transport

There is a local bus company providing the transport around Cameron Highlands and the time for departure is inconsistent. The condition of the bus may not appeal to most tourists.

We can opt for taxi, however. It is not advisable as the taxi drivers will bleed you dry when they see a foreigner. For locals not from around Cameron Highlands, you can try to negotiate the taxi fares before you hop into a taxi.

The best way to see Cameron Highlands is the tourist bus. When you get down from the express bus, there will be people asking if you would like to pay RM40 per person for a half-day trip around Cameron. No matter which hotel you stay in, they will pick you up before 8am and the trip finishes at 1:00pm. They will send you back to your hotel.

By Foot

Only advisable for those who are fit and healthy.

By Bike

There are bikes for rent. Just ask the hotel management or the manager of the budget accommodation you are staying in. They are ever willing to help you with the matter of renting bicycles.

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Eat

Do not ever try seafood restaurant in Cameron Highlands. This is because they charge exorbitant prices for these food. For those who are on a budget, you can try roadside stalls which are set up by the local council. For malay food, we can try "nasi briyani" or "nasi lemak". Do try "teh tarik" as it is quite special. For Indian food, do try "banana leaf", a meal served on the banana leaf, coomplete with one kind of meat and several veggies. It is also served with curry. You can choose chicken curry or fish curry to go with the banana leaf meal.

For a Chinese meal, choose a restaurant that's not walled up with mirrors or with waiters waving a menu at the roadside at you, ushering you in regardless of your wishes. You will find yourself paying exorbitant prices for a simple meal. For example, they may charge you RM80 for a simple meal that may cost only RM30 in a simple restaurant. Just remember that veggies in Cameron Highlands are cheap. So do not get fleeced. If they usher you in, it is alright to stand up and just leave the restaurant.

At the night market, do try fried yam ball, fried tapioca ball, fried kueyteow, nasi tomato, nasi minyak, chappati and roti canai. There is also a a type of pancake, which the locals call "Apom" and "Apom balik". Apom is the thinner version of Apom balik. It is made of flour on a flat iron wok. It is sprinkled with butter and grounded peanuts. It tastes better if it's eaten just out of the wok. For the more adventurous, try out the spicy food as you deem possible.

The Cameron Highlands are also famous for steamboat with two types: normal steamboat and charcoal steamboat.

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Drink

It is not advisable to buy drinks which is coloured red, green or yellow as the hawkers add colours into the drinks. It is basically syrup added with coloured drinks. Do try the coconut drink, which is really a cooling drink. However, if you are tired from travelling, do not drink coconut water as it will give rise to "wind" and one may get stomach upset or diarrhoea. At a Chinese hawker stall which sells drinks, you can try herbal drinks like "longan", "cincau" or known as grass jelly and soya bean. Do try "ais-kacang", which is shaved ice added with all kinds of nuts and syrup.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Kang Travellers Lodge9 Lorong perdah, Tanah Rata Cameron HighlandsGUESTHOUSE69
KRS Pines Guest HouseNo. 7, No. 2 Jl. Mentigi Cameron HighlandGuesthouse71
Kang Travellers Hotel38, Jalan Besar Cameron HighlandsHotel60

Budget

Twinpines offer accomodation priced between RM12 (for dorms) to RM60 (for private double room). It is situated near to the local bus hub.

Upscale

There are several upscale hotels around Cameron Highlands. There is Hotel Equatorial, Hotel Rosa Pasadena and The Swiss Garden Hotel. Please check them out before you book as the management may change the price.

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Post

Pos Malaysia is the national postal service of Malaysia. Rates for sending a standard letter locally is 30 sen (20 gram) to 40 sen (up to 50 gram). International airmail has minimum rates ranging from RM1.00 to RM2.00, depending on destination. It costs 20 sen to send a postcard or aerogramme locally, or 50 sen to send a postcard or aerogramme to anywhere in the world.

Expedited Mail Service (EMS), branded locally as Poslaju, is available for both domestic and international destinations. Domestic EMS has a next day delivery guarantee. International EMS guarantees mails and parcels to be delivered out of the country by the following day. The time required to arrive at its destination will depend on clearance by authorities and the postal service of the destination country. For most countries, delivery of documents can be done in 3 to 5 days.

Generally, post offices are open from 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Saturday, except the first Saturday of the month. They are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.

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